What is Happo Kumite?


Karate need to more than linear based! It needs to be multi-directional!

Almost all Shōtōkan association practice ‘Yakusoku Kumite’.  

We often see ‘Kihon Ippon Kumite’, ‘Sanbon’ or ‘Gohon’ Kumite in dojos, but sometimes we do not see many of the other forms (many) of ‘Yakusoku Kumite’ (Agreement Sparring).

Gima-Ha UK utilise ‘Happo Kumite’ (8 Directions Sparring). Whilst still a ‘Yakusoku’ form, we practice it as either purely’ Kihon Ippon’ (one attack, one counter), or ‘Jiyu Ippon’ (akin to ‘Kaeshi Ipponon’ – Reactions Sparring} where the tracker can counter there counter!) making the need for awareness necessary.

We utilise the compass points, i.e. north, south, east, west, north east, north west, south east, and south west. These are regarding the direction that the attack comes from, and the options for the defender to move in.

This allows the defender to feel and learn ‘Kihon Kumite’ (basic sparring) in a more self-defence based manner, and not the restrictive ‘Sanbon’ methodology.

Our procedure is to practice by forming a circle of eight attacking opponents (if available, or those that are moving to different compass points randomly) around the circumference of a circle. Each defender stands alone in the centre of the circle dealing with repeated and sustained attacks.

We alert the defender by the attacker vocalising when attacking, and they must still use proper distance and angle to the target; the defender must equally show proper timing in blocking and counter attacking.

This is still a ‘Kihon’ drill.